Concerned about Filing Bankruptcy?

Many hard working and honest people have concerns about filing bankruptcy because they feel like they are not living up to their obligations.  The reality is that “life happens”; people get sick, they lose their jobs, and these events can make it impossible for a person to pay their debts.   Because of the financial turmoil of these times, well over a million people (1,538,033) filed for bankruptcy protection in the year 2010.   You are not alone, famous people include:

  • Toni Braxton (Singer)
  • Walt Disney (Movies and Theme Parks)
  • Henry Ford (Automobiles)
  • Larry King (Talk Show)
  • Willie Nelson (Singer)
  • Tom Petty (Singer)
  • Burt Reynolds (Actor)
  • Lawrence Taylor (Football Star)
  • Donald Trump (Real Estate)

Our government recognized the importance of setting up a system that permitted those saddled by overwhelming debt to rebuild their lives.

Get a fresh start

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code is the legal process for people no longer able to pay their bills to eliminate their debt and start over.

Begin the process of fully removing your debt and having a fresh start to your financial future.

Please call me now, Kurt G. Larsen – at 708-409-7725

New Illinois DUI Law

New Illinois DUI law Feb. 15, 2011 – Positive for first offenders?

In 2009, Illinois established procedures allowing driving permits for those suspended based upon accusation of DUI.  Those have now been revamped as Governor Pat Quinn signed Public Act 96-1526 into law.

The problem has been that many judges simply don’t trust the comprehensiveness of our judicial record-keeping.  Likewise, they don’t want their names associated with any defendants that get into more trouble.

Background:  All first offenders facing DUI charges in Illinois have been eligible in most instances to petition the court to have their driving responsibilities reinstated (for all but the first month) through a breath alcohol ignition device (BAIID).  This permits the starting of a vehicle only after a breath test, thus allowing for a special permit to drive referred to as MDDP or Monitoring Device Driving Permit.

The definition of a first offender is someone who has not had a DUI in the past 5 years.  But a small number of judges did not want the responsibility of issuing permits and essentially determining their exact DUI history.

So, under this new law, judges are now eliminated from this screening process.  Motorists seeking this permit now go through the Illinois Secretary of State.  Since most judges erred on the side of caution and were reluctant to grant driving permits in some instances, this new law is probably a net positive for most first offenders. How this will influence the exact outcome for future applicants of these permits remains to be seen, but I am watching this process carefully.  I strongly suggest consulting with an attorney before applying for an MDDP and addressing a summary suspension.

60 Minutes Highlights Foreclosure Fraud

60 Minutes Highlights Fraudulent Documents Created by Lenders

The April 3, 2011 installment of “60 Minutes” featured a lengthy and sensational segment on foreclosure fraud.  We all know the back story.  Millions of mortgages were packaged and monetized by Wall Street and became distressed securities.  In the process, many banks did not take stock of the growing paper trail, so when they started to enforce their rights they turned to some highly unscrupulous methods for “recreating” documents – forging instruments – for purposes of throwing people out of their homes.

If you are involved or contemplating foreclosure, take a very careful look at the documents your lender has sent you, or plans to provide to the court.

There is a chance that these documents could have been recreated in a paper mill and contain possible forgeries.  While a bank might eventually be able to take possession if you are behind in your payments, a careful examination of the documents might give you grounds for a suit and buy you some time.

So, if you believe you might be in a position to get back on track financially in the near future, this is something that is worth looking into.


How a Life Estate can ease Property Transfers

A “life estate” establishes ownership in property, through an individual, until the time of their death.  At this time, the property is returned to its ‘remaindermen’ (whomever is named in the agreement).

This temporary ownership agreement is useful when you want to pass down a home to a loved one and bypass some of the common legal issues, such as probate. Individuals that transfer title before death and remain in the home under these types of agreements are known as “life tenants”.

The main caution is to make certain that whoever stays in the home is capable of maintaining it.  Since most agreements prohibit life tenants from devaluing the property, this can be a source of friction.  Also, in situations where a life tenant remarries, the document must be updated to reflect a new spouse intending to carry on in this capacity.


Foreclosure Fraud Close to Home

Judge Moshe Jacobius has recently moved to temporarily stay some 1,700 mortgage foreclosure cases in Cook County after Fisher & Shapiro, L.L.C., one of a few foreclosure plaintiff’s firm in Chicago, admitted to altering affidavits. They also added fees and other costs incurred AFTER the signing of the affidavit.  The original source is the Tribune and UPI picked up this sensational story March 26.

The cases were filed over the past three years.  Fisher & Shapiro was ordered to vacate all judgments of foreclosure and judicial sales that had occurred. While homeowners won’t be granted the properties “free and clear”, Chicago-area residents affected now have a little breathing room.  For anyone fighting a foreclosure, this is recent proof that it always pays to look carefully at the documents that are being used against you with a competent attorney.


AZ Immigration Law in Chicago?

The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (introduced as Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and thus often referred to simply as Arizona SB 1070) is a legislative act in the U.S. state of Arizona that is the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in decades.  It has received national and international attention and has spurred considerable controversy.

Protesters in Phoenix

U.S. federal law requires certain aliens to register with the U.S. government,  and to have registration documents in their possession at all times.  The Arizona Act additionally makes it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents,  bars state or local officials or agencies from restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws, and cracks down on those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal aliens.  The paragraph on intent in the legislation says it embodies an “attrition through enforcement” doctrine.

Critics of the legislation say it encourages racial profiling, while supporters say the law prohibits the use of race as the sole basis for investigating immigration status.  The law was modified by Arizona House Bill 2162 within a week of its signing with the goal of addressing some of these concerns. There have been protests in opposition to the law in over 70 U.S. cities,  including boycotts and calls for boycotts of Arizona.  Polling has found the law to have majority support in Arizona and nationwide.  Passage of the measure has prompted other states to consider adopting similar legislation.